Tapes 'n Tapes
Every now and then comes a band who seem to be exactly what you are looking for. For the last couple of weeks, that band has been Tapes 'n Tapes (cool name too).
Coming from Minneapolis, (home of Husker Du AND Prince - both who might well have added a pinch of salt to their influences) Tapes 'n Tapes recorded a home-produced 4 track demo before The Loon and were snapped up by XL after a bidding frenzy following theis year's SXSW festival. "Nine packed-out, fun-filled gigs in four days" - and I imagine they looked like the melon-farming lounge band in Repoman for the most part of it.
Sounding like they must have listened to all my favourite records shortly before making this one, Tapes 'n Tapes bring a lot of classic elements to the party (Minutemen, Pixies, Talking heads, er... Gypsy Kings), but always keep it sounding modern (Wolf Parade, Arcade Fire, Constantines). Insistor grabbed early pole position with it's jangling Mexican guitars and seemingly ever-accelerating drums, but it's by no means the only high point of the album.
Though the playing is nothing special, the mathematical construction of the songs is tight, conscise, immediate and catchy without ever sounding conventional. Shuffling ryhthms and emotional vocals add a layer of personality to the records tracks. Just Drums is a great opener, and The Iliad is a Greek Epic, in a mini 2 minute package. As things move on the tracks become slightly less frantic. Manitoba and the excellent Omaha in particular are slightly more ambitious in scope - spelling good things for future records.
Although things are maybe slightly flatter on what would be the B-Side, it's never boring and I'm pretty sure that's just a matter of time until more gems surface and then I find it hard to believe that Insistor was the best. This is the record I'd want to make if I formed a band, so The Loon has already bagged it's place in my best-of-2006 list.
Read our interview with Tapes 'n Tapes here.